Goldson fined $21,000 for 'third infraction'

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Goldson fined $21,000 for 'third infraction'

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Dashon Goldson received a letter Thursday from the NFL to inform him of a $21,000 fine for an illegal hit on New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Sunday night.

Goldson, who said he plans to appeal the fine, was surprised to read in the letter that it was his "third infraction."

"I don't know what third infraction they're talking about," Goldson said. "This is the first time I've ever been hit with a fine besides the one I had on the Rams."

Goldson was fined $7,875 for an unnecessary roughness penalty of sliding St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford on Dec. 2. Goldson was also fined $7,875 for taunting Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch on Oct. 18.

Goldson was also fined $25,000 last year after getting ejected for fighting with Arizona wide receiver Early Doucet.

He has also received numerous fines for uniform violations, he said, while producing a stack of letters from the league. Goldson said his fines have been for his socks and uniform pants failing to meet the NFL code.

"They've fined me about $70,000 already," said Goldson, who is playing on a one-year contract of $6.212 million as the 49ers' franchise player.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he believed Goldson's hit Sunday night on Hernandez was legal. When asked if it was an illegal hit, Fangio said, "I don't think so. He wrapped the guy up, hit him in the chest area."

Fangio said officials have told him that they're asked to call the penalty if there are any doubts.

"If it looks bad, the league has told the officials to err on the side of caution," Fangio said. "So, obviously, if it ends up looking like a big hit, sometimes if they don't see it all and it's a bang-bang play, they're going to err on the side of safety and throw the flag."

Earlier this season, the NFL originally suspended Baltimore safety Ed Reed for one game for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits against defenseless players. However, Ted Cottrell, the hearing officer in the appeal, reduced the discipline to a $50,000 fine with no suspension.

Goldson said he will not change his style of play based on the amount of fines he is accruing.

"I don't have time to sit there in the timespan I have as a football player when I'm on the football field to dictate what's clean and what's a not-so-clean hit," Goldson said. "I'm not a dirty player. And that's just that."

Goldson was penalized 15 yards for the hit on Hernandez. On the next play, Hernandez appeared timid as he tried to catch a short pass from quarterback Tom Brady. The pass glanced off Hernandez's hands and was intercepted by Aldon Smith.

"Hits like that get wide receivers the short (arms)," Goldson said. "It's been proven throughout this league for years, and it's been proven since me and Donte (Whitner) have been back there making hits."

When asked if Goldson wants to be known as the biggest hitter in the NFL, he answered, "No, I just want to be known as a good football player."

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

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Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Until now, Kyle Shanahan’s hiring by the San Fracisco 49ers looked great because of his two-and-a-half predecessors – the last days of Jim Harbaugh, the misplaced concept of Jim Tomsula and the couldn’t-make-chicken-marsala-out-of-old-Kleenex problems surrounding Chip Kelly.

But now, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has told us all that Shanahan has a gift we in the Bay Area know all too well. Specifically, that Shanahan took too long to call plays to the Super Bowl the Falcons vomited up to the New England Patriots.

Now who does that remind you of, over and over again?

Yes, some things are evergreen, and too many options in this overly technological age seems to be one of them. Data in is helpful, but command going out is what bells the cow. Ryan said Shanahan was, well, almost Harbaugh-tastic in his timing.

“Kyle’s play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in,” Ryan told Bleacher Report. “As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you’re talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, ‘There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.’ You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

“With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You’re not being aggressive not running it there.”

And the reason this matters is because the Atlanta Shanahan had multiple good options on every play. In San Francsco, at least in the short term, he’ll be dealing with minimal options. That could speed up his choices, as in “What the hell, we don’t have Julio Jones.” But it could also mean more delays, as in, “Okay, him . . . no, maybe not . . . no, he just screwed up that play last series . . . oh, damn it, time out!”

In short, it’s growing pains season here, children. On the field, on the sidelines, and maybe even in Kyle Shanahan’s head.